South Korea plans lifelong parenting education

A Korean family viewed from the back at a temple Image copyright Alamy
Image caption Koreans will learn about parenting long before they actually become parents

South Korea is planning to provide people with lifelong parenting education in the hope that it will prevent child abuse, it's reported.

Rather than only giving parents-to-be tips on coping with their new arrivals, the government has set out plans to start teaching the necessary skills from school age, the Korea Times reports. The government also wants to see parenting lessons given to university students, men undertaking military service, and couples who are planning to tie the knot.

"We have concluded that a one-time parenting course taken upon marriage or pregnancy would not be effective in instilling proper values in parents, and therefore have drawn up a plan to teach parenting throughout a person's life," an official from the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family tells the website. While child-rearing knowledge was once passed down from one generation to the next, that's not happening as much nowadays, the official says.

South Korea has seen a number of high profile child abuse cases in recent years, prompting the government to tighten child protection laws. In 2012, a Ministry of Health and Welfare report found that 86% of child abuse in South Korea takes place at home, and in 83% of cases the abuse is inflicted by parents.

The new plans come on the heels of a court's announcement that it will require divorcing parents to undergo education on preventing child abuse. The family court in the capital, Seoul, says lessons will be mandatory and a divorce won't be granted if either spouse refuses to attend.

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